Leclerc does not ask for first driver status, but… : formula1


The Monegasque is not the driver who bangs his fists on the table demanding the ranks of first guide: Charles will agree to start the season on an equal footing with Sainz as happened in the previous two years. However, the “Prince” would like efforts to be channeled in one direction at a certain point in the season, avoiding missed opportunities this year. What is not known is that Carlos had repeatedly expressed his willingness to help his team-mate, but race events and wrong strategies didn’t allow it.

Dualisms, especially between teammates, have written the most fascinating and dramatic pages in the history of Formula 1. It is a topic that conquers, divides, stimulates discussions, creating great interest.

It should come as no surprise that in a moment of great transition hypotheses have arisen in the Maranello headquarters on what the management of the Leclerc-Sainz tandem will be starting from 2023.

It should be noted that after two years of living together between Charles and Carlos there is no rust, their relationship can still be defined as ‘good’ considering that they share the same garage, nothing to do with split garages, contacts on the track and war psychological.

The respective contracts do not include ‘status’, either first or second driver, and will not provide for it in the future. However, the departure of Mattia Binotto has led to the hypothesis that the new course (still without a face in the role of team principal) will put Leclerc at the center of the project, a concept that gives an idea, but remains vague when it comes to concrete.

All Formula 1 teams have strategies prepared in view of particular scenarios, and among these there is that of having energies converge on a driver should he find himself fighting for an objective with a better classification situation than his partner. The drivers know they have a lot to play for in the first part of the season, because that’s what determines the hierarchies inside the garage, but it’s a dynamic that has nothing to do with predefined statuses.

Returning to the Ferrari case, in 2022 what Leclerc lacked was this support. Despite a favorable position in the standings, in some cases the strategy proved to be a handicap for him which ended up favoring Sainz. It’s a very different scenario than that of a driver who puts his foot down claiming to be number one in the team. Leclerc would have needed the right support for what he was already doing on the track, without help and without status.

The message of a Charles banging his fists on the table demanding first guide degrees is false, asking to be protected and not damaged as in some cases happened in 2022 is something else, there is a huge difference.

It is one thing to think of scenarios like Austria 2002, with Barrichello forced to brake at the finish line to let Schumacher pass him, it is quite another to ask for support in races in which he is the leader (Monaco and Silverstone 2022, but also Singapore 2019) to then find himself to chase due to questionable strategic choices.

Guaranteeing the two riders a start to the season without hierarchies is in the interest of a team that needs to grow. The objectives and the standings will decide whether it will be necessary to prioritize, and Leclerc knowing he’s playing it on the track is fine. If the 2023 single-seater is confirmed to be globally competitive, the time will also come when efforts will be channeled in one direction.

In 2022 on several occasions Sainz in the pre-race briefings guaranteed his willingness to support Leclerc, but particular race dynamics are also needed to be of help, and in the season that has just ended they have rarely materialised.

As much as this argument holds, the chances of the scenario taking shape are far from certain. If the management of hierarchies in the garage becomes a priority, it will mean that the single-seater will be worthy of a world championship, and that the season will have taken a very good turn. A ‘problem’, that of driver management, which in Maranello (and not only) they hope to have in many respects.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *